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Methyl aminolevulinate

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Title: Methyl aminolevulinate  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: MAL, Protoporphyrin IX, Basal-cell carcinoma, Chemotherapy, Cell-cycle nonspecific antineoplastic agents
Collection: Antineoplastic Drugs, Methyl Esters, Prodrugs
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Methyl aminolevulinate

Methyl aminolevulinate
Systematic (IUPAC) name
methyl 5-amino-4-oxo-pentanoate
Clinical data
CAS Registry Number  Y
ATC code L01
PubChem CID:
DrugBank  Y
ChemSpider  Y
Chemical data
Formula C6H11NO3
Molecular mass 145.156 g/mol

Methyl aminolevulinate (MAL) is a drug used as a sensitizer in photodynamic therapy. It is a prodrug that is metabolized to protoporphyrin IX. It is marketed as Metvix.

Metvix cream is applied topically and some time later the skin is illuminated with a proprietary red light (630 nm) source (medical lamp 'Aktilite') to activate the photosensitiser.

Metvix is developed by Photocure and Galderma has bought all rights to Metvix.[1]

Approvals and indications

Interim result of phototherapy for actinic keratosis with Metvix one week after exposure. Patient has light skin and blue eyes.

Methyl aminolevulinate is approved in New Zealand for treatment of basal cell carcinoma.[2]

It is now approved in many countries and has been used to treat non-melanoma skin cancer (including basal cell carcinoma).[3]

It has some advantages over Levulan.[4]

It has been reported as controversial in some quarters, with severe pain allegedly being experienced by some patients. [5]


  1. ^ Photocure divests Metvix to Galderma
  2. ^ "Methyl aminolevulinate photodynamic therapy (MAL PDT)"
  3. ^ "New 5 Year Metvix-PDT Data Demonstrate Long-Term Efficacy & Reliability For NM Skin Cancer Treatment" 2006
  4. ^ Porphyrin and Nonporphyrin Photosensitizers in Oncology: Preclinical and Clinical Advances in Photodynamic Therapy Photochemistry and Photobiology, Sep/Oct 2009 by O'Connor, Aisling E, Gallagher, William M, Byrne, Annette T
  5. ^

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